It’s now been 4 years since William “Bill” Martin, a former Racine Horlick High School teacher, was involved in a serious crash in Caledonia that nearly took his life and took his wife’s life. Now he’s trying to regain his independence and mobility, and has made remarkable strides.
Martin and his wife Michelle were traveling down 4 Mile Road in Caledonia from their home in Racine on October 20th, 2018, when a tree branch collapsed onto his SUV. High winds aided in the accident. “It’s probably a good thing I don’t remember the day,” Bill tells WTMJ. He had no recollection of the accident but realized later that his wife had passed and that he had sustained serious injuries.
Martin was quickly transported to Ascension All Saints Hospital in Racine, then taken via ambulance to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee because of the extent of his injuries. 3 Surgeons operated on him for over 14 hours following the crash. Martin also sustained a traumatic brain injury. “My daughter told me later… that one of the surgeons came out to her and sad ‘he’s probably not going to make it’ and if he would survive, ‘he’d be a vegetable,’” Martin said. “(Bob) won’t be able to move anything under his armpits.” Bill was then in a coma until December 2018.
Martin quickly started Physical Therapy at Froedtert and slowly progressed until he learned to stand up. He was then transferred to Marquette’s Neurology program, and he has learned to walk and has continued his physical therapy since 2020.
“They used to have 4 people helping to move my legs…now I’m using a walker and they suspend me from the ceiling and I have 10 percent of my body weight,” as Martin walks back and forth. He shows his progress on his Facebook page. Simply put, Martin wants to get his life back to some normalcy. “I don’t want to just stand a couple of times, I want to walk, I want to run around with my grandkids, I want to teach them how to golf, I want to walk my dog. I want to go back to teaching.”
Countless former students have come to voice support for Bill, who taught math at Horlick High School. He moved so quickly in his therapy that he tutored at Horlick High School before the pandemic set in. Martin wants to return to teaching one day. “I miss the people,” Mitchell exclaimed, “I miss the comradery I had with the other teachers, and I used to have so much fun.”
Martin continues to make progress, and his next concern is a mode of transportation. Bill says most features on how to operate his car will need to be utilized on the steering wheel, as his motion with his feet remains, and may remain, limited. “(It’s a) challenge that I gotta take them on as they come,” Martin says.
Martin’s goal to walk independently is April 2024, the next time a total eclipse occurs. “In my mind, I wanna be walking, and I wanna go to San Antonio to see the eclipse on April 8th of 2024, to get to where I can move around.”
“(The people) are amazed at Me at Marquette, I think they’re really proud of me.”
There are several fundraisers coming up, including Monday night from 4-9pm at Georgie Porgie’s, 5502 Washington Avenue in Racine.
Those interested in helping Mr. Martin can donate to his “Wheels to a teacher” GoFundMe page. He has currently raised $8,580 of the $75,000 goal.
In addition to the online fundraiser, there will be an additional fundraiser at Georgie Porgie’s, 5502 Washington Ave, from 4 pm to 9 pm on Jan. 16. A flier is below on how to donate…
An additional fundraiser will take place at Culver’s in Racine in February.
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